Whales dine with their friends of the same species
March 3, 2016 08:00 AM - Jennifer Chu, MIT News
For a few weeks in early fall, Georges Bank — a vast North Atlantic fishery off the coast of Cape Cod — teems with billions of herring that take over the region to spawn. The seasonal arrival of the herring also attracts predators to the shallow banks, including many species of whales.
Now researchers from MIT, Northeastern University, the Institute of Marine Research in Norway, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, have found that as multiple species of whales feast on herring, they tend to stick with their own kind, establishing species-specific feeding centers along the 150-mile length of Georges Bank. The team’s results are published today in the journal Nature.
Can you guess the world's longest distance flyer?
March 3, 2016 07:18 AM - Rutgers University
A dragonfly barely an inch and a half long appears to be animal world's most prolific long distance traveler – flying thousands of miles over oceans as it migrates from continent to continent – according to newly published research.
Preserved moose with DNA of ancestors being studied in Russia
March 1, 2016 09:26 AM - NATIONAL RESEARCH TOMSK STATE UNIVERSITY via EurekAlert
Scientists of the Tomsk State University have found preserved moose in Western Siberia that have unique features of DNA structure. This discovery of Tomsk scientists will help determine the origin and path of moose movement in the last few tens of thousands of years and gives reason to believe that Siberia is a unique genetic repository. The research has been presented at International Conference "Theriofauna of Russia and adjacent territories" (X Congress of Russian Theriological Society).
Unique moose were found in the southeastern part of Western Siberia. Hunters of the Tomsk Region assisted in this discovery. Along with the license for opening the animals, they got set for the capture of prototypes and a small profile.
Beavers return to Britain
February 28, 2016 09:46 AM - Nigel Willby & Alan Law, University of Stirling, The Ecologist
Beavers are Britain's native aquatic engineers and their return to sites in Scotland and England is doing wonders for the local environment, write Nigel Willby & Alan Law: restoring wetlands, recreating natural river dynamics and ecology, filtering farm pollutants from water, and improving habitat for trout and other fish.
In Knapdale, damming by beavers transformed a small pond into a wetland of a type and complexity probably unseen in Britain for centuries. On the Bamff estate on Tayside, we found that grazing by beavers trebled the number of wetland plants in 9 years.
Beavers have recently made a tentative return to Britain.
Swimming pig colony is site to see in Bahamas
February 22, 2016 07:13 AM - Tex Dworkin, Care2
In the Bahamas, there is an uninhabited island called Big Major Cay, located in the Exuma district.
Actually, that’s not exactly true. The island is uninhabited by humans, but considered the ‘Official Home of the Swimming Pigs.’
Visitors to the island’s “Pig Beach,” as it is commonly called, get to feed and sometimes swim with the pig residents.
Can ecotourism save threatened species?
February 19, 2016 06:09 AM - Griffith University
Ecotourism can provide the critical difference between survival and extinction for endangered animals, according to new research from Griffith University.
Using population viability modelling, the Griffith team of Professor Ralf Buckley, Dr Guy Castley and Dr Clare Morrison has developed a method that for the first time quantifies the impact of ecotourism on threatened species.
Giant Iceberg Causes Penguin Deaths
February 18, 2016 10:41 PM - Laura Goldman, Care2
For the past six years, an iceberg the size of Rome has blocked the access of Adélie penguins to the sea in Antarctica. To find food, they must walk a detour of nearly 40 miles to the coast.
The impact on the colony has been devastating: More than 150,000 penguins have died.
The approximately 1,800-square-mile iceberg (referred to as B09B) struck a glacier and became stuck in Commonwealth Bay back in 2010, essentially land-locking 160,000 penguins. Before then, the colony was thriving, thanks to strong winds that blew ice from the shore, making it easy to hunt for fish.
“The Cape Denison population could be extirpated within 20 years unless B09B relocates or the now perennial fast ice within the bay breaks out,” wrote scientists from the Climate Change Research Centre at Australia’s University of New South Wales (UNSW) in a study published this month in Antarctic Science.
Algal Toxins Detected in One-Third of Streams Assessed in Southeastern United States
February 18, 2016 07:12 AM - USGS Newsroom
USGS scientists have detected toxins known as microcystins produced by various forms of algae in 39 percent of the small streams assessed throughout the southeastern United States. Their recent study looked at 75 streams in portions of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia.
Will you take part in this year's Great Backyard Bird Count?
February 11, 2016 07:11 AM - Alicia Graef, Care2
This weekend bird enthusiasts from around the world will become citizen scientists for a few days during the 19th annual Great Backyard Bird Count, which is happening this year February 12-15.
During this four-day event, which is organized by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the National Audubon Society and Bird Studies Canada, people will be headed outdoors to count their local birds in the name of science.
What does the Wolf say?
February 8, 2016 11:06 AM - UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE via EurekAlert
The largest ever study of howling in the 'canid' family of species -- which includes wolves, jackals and domestic dogs -- has shown that the various species and subspecies have distinguishing repertoires of howling, or "vocal fingerprints": different types of howls are used with varying regularity depending on the canid species.
Researchers used computer algorithms for the first time to analyse howling, distilling over 2,000 different howls into 21 howl types based on pitch and fluctuation, and then matching up patterns of howling.
They found that the frequency with which types of howls are used -- from flat to highly modulated -- corresponded to the species of canid, whether dog or coyote, as well as to the subspecies of wolf.